By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
One driver was arrested after he fired a 9mm handgun at another car during a road rage incident in Four Points last week. The bullet shattered the passenger side window of Stephen Johnson’s 1999 Lexus. No one was injured but one local mom says she will think twice about rendering aid again at an accident.
Lisa Olsen, her husband, in-laws from Denmark and 8-year-old daughter were heading home to Steiner Ranch after attending the Vandegrift High School homecoming pep rally. They arrived at RM 620 N near Comanche Trail around 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 to find that a silver Lexus and a silver Dodge had collided.
Wanting to help, the Olsens turned on their hazard lights and went to check on the people in the accident. They didn’t know the one driver had a gun and had just used it.
Olsen said the driver of the Dodge, later identified as Donathan Harris, 33, was pacing and really upset and saying “I was trying to get in and he wouldn’t let me in… I (expletive) took a shot at him.”
At that point, Olsen didn’t think he was talking about a gun. They tried to check on the driver of the Lexus, later identified as Johnson, 66, but he left his window up.
Just before Travis County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived on the scene, the car in front of them that had arrived first, left.
Within minutes, about five police cars arrived. One officer came up to the Olsen’s truck with his gun drawn asking if they had any weapons. At that point, police did not know who was involved.
Olsen said that is when it dawned on her that the one driver had a gun.
The police got to Harris. After admitting to firing a shot, Harris was frisked for weapons and placed in the back of a patrol car.
Police investigated the crime scene, shutting down the road for a while. At one point a big stuffed Mickey Mouse was taken from the Dodge. The police opened it up on the hood of the car, apparently checking for something that may have been hidden, Olsen said.
Police found a 9mm Luger ball live round, a Smith & Wesson semi-automatic handgun with magazine, and Smith & Wesson 9mm SD9VE in Harris’ car.
Harris, his father, his wife and their 5-year-old son were on their way to eat at a restaurant. Harris told police that Johnson rammed them repeatedly when he fired a single shot at them in defense to protect his family.
Harris said he passed the Lexus because it was traveling too slowly. He said Johnson then pulled alongside, screaming obscenities and threats while making menacing hand gestures at the Harris family with something in his hand.
That’s when Harris says he pulled the handgun out of the driver’s side door pocket and showed it to Johnson in an attempt to scare him off. But then, he fired a single round across the front of his father in the passenger seat and toward Lexus.
Johnson’s account to the police was different. He stated he was driving southbound in the left lane when Harris quickly drove around him and cut him off. Johnson said he flashed his lights to indicate Harris should slow down because he was driving dangerously. Harris then braked, slowing so that Johnson, whose driver’s side window was down, moved his vehicle to the right lane to continue on past Harris.
Johnson says he then heard a gunshot and saw his passenger window suddenly explode. He said the gunshot scared him, and he swerved into the shooter’s vehicle.
According to Johnson’s report, Harris exited his vehicle and pointed a gun at him, claiming that Johnson was attacking his family, saying: “Do you want me to finish ya?!”
Johnson told Harris, “You were just driving badly.”
However, official incident report indicates that damage to the vehicles did not coincide with Harris’ account, and following the on-scene investigation, deputies arrested Harris on a charge of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
After two hours, Olsen’s husband drove her family home and then he went back to continue to help with the investigation.
She didn’t think twice about helping at the scene of the accident, especially because Four Points is a quiet area. But she said she will think twice if there is a next time.
Tips to avoid road rage
Roger Wade, spokesperson Travis County Sheriff’s Office
First of all, everyone should realize that if you are cut off by someone it is probably because they are not paying attention, not because they are upset with you personally or they are attacking you.
There are times, however, when someone is enraged and driving aggressively, and when someone honks their horn or flashes their headlights at them they retaliate.
If you should observe someone who is driving aggressively, you should just slow down and let them go.
Do not draw attention to yourself, try to remember as much information as you can about the vehicle, and call 911.